Potential boundary problem(18 Posts)
We are in the process of buying a house that has taken us over a year to find.
The house needs loads of work and we are planning to extend it. It has the potential to be a really great home for us.
After speaking with the neighbours about our proposed plans (we are building up to the boundary) one neighbour questioned whether the measurements were correct.
I asked our architect to double check his measurements and it would appear that the boundary is 3ft out in our favour!
The deeds show all the plots at a width of 30ft all the way to the bottom of the garden. In reality the plot measures 27ft!
We are only planning on building to the original measurements and don't want to fall out with our new neighbours, but what should we do?
Do we give up 3ft of space for a quiet life? Or try and come to some arrangement with them?
I think you need all of your land. It is only thirty feet. I would do a survey, stakes will be put in, and build to boundary line.
When you say deeds showing plots measuring 30 feet, do you mean historical deeds or have the dimensions altered since your architect measured them?
If the old deeds say 30ft I wouldn't place too much store by that. It may be the case that the plots were never built to those exact measurements.
They are old deeds yes.
I wondered if it may be an idea to discuss the problem with them and measure the width of their property, which should also be 30 ft.
If it turns out to be 33ft, then the solution should obvious shouldn't it?
Or am I in cloud cuckoo land?
I wouldn't do anything. You bought the house and were happy with what you saw. What has changed really? Boundary disputes are a nightmare. And chances are, if it's been like that for years, you would have no claim on the land anyway.
I'd do (or rather not do) the same as starling.
If the boundary markers, e.g fences have been there for a while then that is now the boundary. Your architect should have checked the measurements first. It seems a bit optimistic to be getting plans drawn up before you even own the property.
The boundary is mainly made up of patches of hedges and bits of wire/fencing here and there. But we wish to replace the fencing and replant a hedge. The boundary near to the house is more defined though.
The architect has only drawn up provisional plans and his measurements were correct. We don't plan to submit an application until after exchange.
We only checked them against the deeds when the neighbour questioned whether our proposed extension would be encroaching onto their property.
I agree it's not worth getting into a boundary dispute. But could this cause problems further down the line (if either of us sell) if the deeds don't match what's on the ground?
Or if they were to extend their property up to the boundary later on?
Are there any fixed points that the boundary is measured from? If not then it is really difficult to establish exact boundaries. If you scale up from land registry plans the margin of error is huge.
The most important element is the neighbours. A troublemaker can invent a boundary dispute out of nothing. A nice neighbour will chat and agree.
Knock on the door and ask them what they think.
Building right up to a boundary will never please neighbours. How do you propose to do any maintenance? Obviously by going on their land. Make your life easier, scale down the extension and try to get on with your neighbours. They are already on the defensive!
See if next doors are on the land registry. If it is they are kind of guaranteed what is shown. You can also get a copy of their title plans for about £8 online from the official land registry website (there are pretend ones that charge more) Historical deeds are not always that useful as it might be a chunk of land was sold of later etc.
It sounds like the one you are buying isn't land registered? If not if you except the bit you have now and register the title as it stands and the neighbours is also already registered there should not be problems when it comes to either of you selling. Problems may occur if the neighbours isn't registered.
Also they might be 30ft and their neighbour may have the land. It really does need properly sorting and your solicitor will advice.
So your garden should be 30 ft, but it is only 27 ft? When you buy a house you are purchasing what is registered on the land registry/on the deeds, not what is seen 'on the ground'. As such it's up to the vendor to provide you with clean title when you purchase. Make this their problem, not yours. Delay exchange until this has been sorted out.
If you don't you could have problems when you come to sell (if I was buying from you, I would insist you sort it out before exchange). Next door wouldn't have problems when they come to sell, as they can offer indemnity insurance for the event that you will make a claim over what they see as 'their' land.
Please, I beg you not to do this. Buy it as is, do not start a boundary dispute.
I think people are under the impression that the law covers you it doesn't. It merely comes down to who has the biggest balls.
You need to look at GardenLaw website forums (boundaries, fences, hedges) to see that sometimes these things go on for decades, I really wish I was kidding you. It would be very rare for a neighbour to say, yes of course, here is the 3ft of land, sorry about that.
These things turn personal. You were happy with the house, plus happy with the extension. Why would you want to make yourself potentially, and very likely, unhappy? Measurements taken from hedges move, and the fact that your deeds have measurements on tells me the house is probably very old.
Please read this from a conveyancer on Gardenlaw called put your tape measure away
And secondly, lots of legal matters are covered by your house insurance, however, boundary disputes are not. Because they cost a hell of a lot of money. It is easy for an architect or a solicitor to tell you it is your land, but they do not have to live next door to the person.
Plus unless this is your forever house, you would have problems selling in the future because no-one in their right mind would buy a house with a boundary dispute so you are usually stuck.
I do have experience of this, not directly, but was out with a friend when we were called dickheads by the lovely next door neighbour to my friend. So it doesn't just happen at home. My friend said there is nothing worse than dreading going home. They now rent that property out and neighbour is as nice as pie to the tenants. But still calls my mate wanker when she sees her.
I really strongly agree with the posters who say tread carefully.
When we bought our house the deeds/ land registery/ owners understanding were all different.
The solicitors had a field day sending each other letters at vast expense.
We solved it by coming to an amicable decision during an informal chat with our neighbours. We were lucky but have since heard horror stories.
We really don't want a dispute.
The only reason we got the tape measure out was because the neighbour questioned the boundary with regard to our extension.
The house is part of a semi, so easy to measure accurately. This neighbour is the unattached side.
We have told them our architect is double checking the measurements so we have to tell them the results!
So do we tell them we're letting it go?
Or that the boundary is out, but we aren't doing anything about it?
Do we ask to measure their property, as it should also be 30ft. If it's under, we may as well drop it as it would then involve their attached neighbour. But if it's over do we try to come to some agreement? Go halves?
We think that problems with this neighbour are pretty much certain sadly...see my other thread....
One other point - there is no guaratee that you'll get permission to extend to the boundary line in any event. Certainly where we are, our LA is only allowing extensions that leave a gap of around 1m to the boundary.
The architect has designed it to fall in with permitted development. It's only a small single storey side extension.
Although if the boundary was in the correct place it would be within a metre of the boundary!
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